Daily Archives: June 25, 2014

(RNS) Pastor Matt Chandler talks redemption”“from substance abuse to serial failures

RNS: In my experience, redemption for evangelicals means “work harder,” do more good stuff, and stave off bad behavior. But this isn’t your message, is it?

MC: No, because redemption isn’t you working harder. Redemption is you having been saved from your error by someone else. In fact, you don’t possess the ability to redeem yourself in any way. This is the great lie of moralistic deism, that you can be good enough. Men from the Bible”“from the prophet Isaiah to Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount”“teach that you cannot be righteous enough to save yourself. One of the more terrifying verses in the Bible is when Jesus said to a crowd, “Unless your righteousness supersedes the Pharisees, you have no part of the Kingdom of Heaven.”

The Pharisees were tithing their mint and dill and were more righteous, externally speaking, than anyone reading this has even tried to be. Jesus is exposing the truth that you and I will never be good enough, that all of our righteous deeds are worthless. So, this can’t be the message of redemption because the Scriptures are clear that redemption doesn’t work that way.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Anthropology, Books, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Ethics / Moral Theology, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Theology

(BBC) Will Emir Lamido Sanusi [of Kano, Nigeria] ruffle feathers?

… His opposition to Sharia put him on a collision course with many conservative Muslims in the north – and his modernising approach is anathema to Boko Haram, which says it is fighting to create a strict Islamic state and opposes all Western values.

The militants had already tried to assassinate his predecessor, Al Haji Ado Bayero, who died last month at the age of 83 after a long illness. Many are waiting to see what the new emir’s line on the insurgency will be.
……
The governing People’s Democratic Party (PDP), however, has been affronted by his appointment and in what seemed like a comedy of errors tried to congratulate another candidate on the appointment before the Kano state governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, announced his choice.

President Goodluck Jonathan, who suspended Mr Sanusi in February as bank governor, has yet to congratulate him.

The former bank chief’s whistle-blowing over $20bn (£12bn) allegedly missing from the state oil company still rankles and Mr Sanusi is currently challenging his suspension in court….

Read it all

Posted in * International News & Commentary, Africa, Nigeria

"People are not making progress. Incomes are stagnating and expenses are high."

Despite Americans being more secure in their jobs and more comfortable with their debt since the recession ended, their savings capacity remains weak even among those with highest-income household. Only 46% of those with annual income of $75,000 or above have enough savings to cover six months of expenses.

“People are not making progress. Incomes are stagnating and expenses are high,” said Greg McBride, Bankrate.com’s chief financial analyst. He said that many people are still struggling with payments from the past years and high household costs.

The report also indicates that the segment of the population aged between 30 and 49 are the most likely to have no emergency fund compared with younger people. “That is alarming because those are the people with a house, two cars and a dog but still with no emergency savings. You need emergency savings,” he added.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, Anthropology, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Personal Finance, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, Theology

Archbishop John Sentamu: Britain could lift 1m out of poverty with living wage

A blueprint to lift one million people out of low pay by 2020 is published…[this week], and could adopted by Labour if it wins power at next year’s general election.

A commission chaired by Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, calls on the Government to champion the gradual introduction of a living wage higher than the national minimum wage in sectors that could afford it. But it rejects the idea of imposing a higher wages floor by law.

The living wage is currently £8.80 an hour in London and £7.65 an hour outside the capital. The minimum wage is £6.31 an hour.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Anthropology, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(SMH) Anglicans: No chaplains, scripture in public schools

NSW public schools should spend government funding on tackling obesity and promoting wellness and positive psychology rather than the untested chaplaincy program that are in hundreds of the state’s schools, the head of Sydney’s Anglican Education Commission has argued.

As the Federal Government considers the fate of its National School Chaplaincy Program after the High Court ruled the commonwealth could not fund it, the executive director of the commission, Bryan Cowling, said there was no evidence the chaplaincy program was effective.

Dr Cowling, a former head of curriculum in the NSW Department of Education, said a long-term goal of public schools should be to replace scripture classes with a mandatory “world view and ethics” class providing students with a “broad exposure” to many religions.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Australia / NZ, Education, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Nigerian Anglican Archbishop Imaekhai seeks to provide antidote for electoral violence

The archbishop opined that prosecuting politicians and supporters involved in electoral crimes would help address incidence of electoral violence in the country, and engender political stability.

He therefore called on the electoral umpire, INEC, the media and civil society organizations to support the electoral process by mounting anti-violence campaigns across the country.

On the 2015 general election, he called on Nigerians to adhere strictly to the rules governing conduct of elections, bearing in mind that 2015 is the year the USA had predicted Nigeria would break up.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Church of Nigeria, Ethics / Moral Theology, Nigeria, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(AP) Egyptian Christian jailed for contempt of religion

A court convicted an Egyptian Christian to six years imprisonment for blasphemy and contempt of religion on Tuesday.

The Luxor court issued its verdict against Kerolos Ghattas, 30, after his arrest earlier this month for posting pictures deemed insulting to Islam on his Facebook page.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Egypt, History, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

Nora Volkow, National Institute on Drug Abuse, on why legalizing Marijuana is a mistake

For those who argue that marijuana is no more dangerous than tobacco and alcohol, [Nora] Volkow has two main answers: We don’t entirely know , and, simultaneously, that is precisely the point .

“Look at the evidence,” Volkow said in an interview on the National Institutes of Health campus, pointing to the harms already inflicted by tobacco and alcohol. “It’s not subtle ”” it’s huge. Legal drugs are the main problem that we have in our country as it relates to morbidity and mortality. By far. Many more people die of tobacco than all of the drugs together. Many more people die of alcohol than all of the illicit drugs together.

“And it’s not because they are more dangerous or addictive. Not at all ”” they are less dangerous. It’s because they are legal. .”‰.”‰. The legalization process generates a much greater exposure of people and hence of negative consequences that will emerge. And that’s why I always say, ”˜Can we as a country afford to have a third legal drug? Can we?’ We know the costs already on health care, we know the costs on accidents, on lost productivity. I let the numbers speak for themselves.”

Read it all from Ruth Marcus in the Washington Post.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anthropology, City Government, Consumer/consumer spending, Drugs/Drug Addiction, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, State Government, Taxes, The U.S. Government, Theology

(AFP) Boko Haram abducts 60 more women and girls in Nigeria

Suspected Boko Haram militants have abducted more than 60 women and girls, some as young as three, in the latest kidnappings in northeast Nigeria and over two months since more than 200 schoolgirls were seized.

Analysts said the kidnapping, which happened during a raid on Kummabza village in the Damboa district of Borno state, could be an attempt by the Islamist group to refocus attention on its demands for the release of militant fighters.

Boko Haram has indicated that it would be willing to release the 219 schoolgirls that it has held hostage since April 14 in exchange for the freedom of its brothers in arms currently held in Nigerian jails.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Nigeria, Other Faiths, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Teens / Youth, Terrorism, Theology, Violence, Women

(TLC) Daniel Muth reviews books by Alvin Plantinga and Thomas Nagel

This is a worthy challenge. If God’s creative activity is primarily a matter of redirecting nature from the outside to produce what could not otherwise have come into being, it is entirely fair to reject him as a Gnostic demiurge who makes the natural order as arbitrary as atheist neo-Darwinism makes consciousness. And neither the flaccidly emotive “god concept” of liberalism nor the mechanical and anthropomorphized semi-deity of literalism is immune.

The Christian response to Nagel demands a regrasping both of God as transcendent creator ”” hence unchangeable, impassible, simple, eternal, etc. ”” and as mysteriously incarnate. The latter is not just the logically necessary prelude to atonement and the solution for human sin but an essential part of God’s relation to his created order, which is fulfilled, not violated, by his entry into it.

A Christianity that properly understands both creation and Incarnation, and remembers itself as the greatest engine of scientific curiosity in human history, may be properly undaunted by evidence of evolution, and uncowed by atheistic bullyragging. Christ is the Truth. Accordingly, his revelation may bring us into deep concord with the veracities of the world he created and redeemed.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Books, Philosophy, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(NYT) Methodists Reinstate Pastor, Deepening Church’s Rift Over Same-Sex Unions

The panel deemed the defrocking to be an illegitimate effort to punish Mr. Schaefer for his refusal to promise not to preside at another same-sex wedding.

Mr. Schaefer, 52, described himself as “totally elated” by the appeals panel decision, and he said he would celebrate in part by taking his son Tim, at whose same-sex wedding he officiated, to a White House gay pride event on Monday. Mr. Schaefer, who until his defrocking in December had been the pastor of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pa., will resume his pastoral work next month in Santa Barbara, Calif., where Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño has offered him a position ministering to college students….

“This will be confirmation for traditionalists that we are deeply divided and may not be able to live together,” said the Rev. Rob Renfroe, the president of Good News, a United Methodist organization that opposes same-sex marriage. “When we have people who are not only disobedient, but who find a way to not have to keep the covenant they have made with the rest of the church, it helps us see that maybe we are so different that we’ve come to the end of the road together.”

Read it all.

Update: Get Religion now has a piece on this article there.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Jesus, Master and Lord, pour into our hearts thine own heroic love; that being filled with love we may know the love which passeth knowledge, and live in the unknown power of love to win men to trust in love, to the glory of God who is love.

–William Temple

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

–Romans 4:20-21

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

(SMH) Luis Suarez bite: British press take a chunk out of Uruguay star for his apparent bite

Along with the Jaw III headline, former English referee Graham Poll, who is widely regarded as one of the best modern referees, argued that Suarez, “should not be allowed to kick another ball in this World Cup tournament”.

“Referee Marco Rodriguez clearly missed the coming together of Suarez and Italian Giorgio Chiellini,” Poll said. “And replays are clear enough to me for the Uruguayan to be charged by FIFA’s disciplinary panel.”

Adding to the discontent of the English press at the despicable behaviour of Suarez, Everton boss Roberto Martinez chimed into the conversation on ESPN and questioned whether the 2013-14 EPL player of the season is in the right state of mind to be playing football given his brain explosions of late.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Health & Medicine, Men, Psychology, South America, Sports, Theology, Uruguay

(NYT Well Blog) Cool at 13, Adrift at 23

Researchers took pains to document the rise and fall in social status, periodically interviewing the subjects as well as those who they felt knew them best, usually close friends. About 20 percent of the group fell into the “cool kid” category at the study’s outset.

A constellation of three popularity-seeking behaviors characterized pseudomaturity, Dr. Allen and his colleagues found. These young teenagers sought out friends who were physically attractive; their romances were more numerous, emotionally intense and sexually exploring than those of their peers; and they dabbled in minor delinquency ”” skipping school, sneaking into movies, vandalism.

As they turned 23, the study found that when compared to their socially slower-moving middle-school peers, they had a 45 percent greater rate of problems resulting from alcohol and marijuana use and a 40 percent higher level of actual use of those substances. They also had a 22 percent greater rate of adult criminal behavior, from theft to assaults.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Children, Health & Medicine, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Teens / Youth, Young Adults